On 14 February, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Taxes and IACA entered into a Memorandum of Understanding, establishing a general framework of cooperation in the field of anti-corruption. The memorandum calls for joint efforts in anti-corruption education, technical assistance and the promotion of institution building measures.
Tax Minister Fazil Mammadov acknowledged that the memorandum would not only improve the relationship between IACA and Azerbaijan, but would also raise the level of awareness of the importance of the issue of anti-corruption throughout the country. “This cooperation will stimulate activity in Azerbaijan”, he noted, adding that “the Ministry of Taxes is widely known throughout the Azerbaijani government as the first Ministry to focus on and devote itself to training and the implementation of anti-corruption measures”.
Martin Kreutner, Chair of IACA’s International Transition Team and the Executive Secretary of the Provisional Commission, emphasized the importance of enhancing civil society and public participation in anti-corruption efforts. In referring to combating corruption in Azerbaijan, Mr. Kreutner noted that, “this is not a matter of one day. It is a problem that will be reduced in phases, and IACA stands ready to assist Azerbaijan on this path”.
The signing ceremony for the memorandum took place in the framework of the “Combatting Corruption in the Azerbaijan Republic: Achievements and Prospects” conference at the Ministry of Taxes’ training center in the city of Shamakhy. It received widespread media attention and was attended by several high level government officials, diplomats and NGO representatives. In separate meetings, IACA’s delegation also met with Minister of Justice Fikrat Mammadov, the Chairman of the Commission on Combatting Corruption, Kamran Aliyev, and Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov.
The Azerbaijani government is currently working on devising a new Action Plan as part of its anti-corruption strategy. According to the Head of the President’s Department of Law Enforcement Bodies, Fuad Alasgarov, an adequate base has already been established to combat corruption and codes of ethics have been adopted. Both ministers also expressed Azerbaijan’s eagerness to accede to the IACA Treaty in the near future.